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The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/28/19): All Mothers Are 24/7 Champions



Welcome to Paul Heyman's Monday Night RAW! Yes, this episode reportedly had Heyman in full control of RAW, and the result was just spectacular. I was surprisingly excited from start to finish, and no, that wasn't because someone from NXT was fighting someone else from NXT.

It was mostly because of the writing and the action that this show managed to do really well, if not better than recent memory. From the 24/7 Championship shenanigans, which ended up in a very unexpected and interesting turn, by the way, to the main event that didn't really have a match, this was by far my favorite RAW episode in a long, long while.


First thing's first: The OC is still a weird name for this stable. AJ Styles is already the reigning, defending United States Champion, so I wasn't sold on Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows winning the RAW Tag Team titles from The Revival in the Triple Threat Tag Team match that also involved The Usos. It doesn't help that the Good Brothers haven't been booked properly for a really long time. So, yes, I was surprised and, like AJ Styles backstage, overjoyed for Anderson and Gallows when they managed to win the titles. 

I mean, I like The Revival but the Bulle—The OC's time is now. Seeing all three of these men wear championship gold around their waist at the same time was just... phenomenal.

Oh, and I think one of the Usos (Jimmy?) ate the pin because of that DUI arrest. I guess the Uso Penitentiary is a real thing. This match was given enough time to let the guys involved steadily pace their storytelling in that ring. With the looks of things by the end of the night, though, it seems that The Usos will continue to factor heavily in the tag title picture while The Revival might find themselves out of any real storyline purpose. That saddens me because I feel like The Usos have been in so many of these tag title wars for so long that I'm not entirely interested in seeing them battle The OC for tag title domination. Then again, it's going to be weird for The Revival to lock horns with The OC instead, right? It's not like a heel versus heel program has ever been interesting. I'll let you guys figure out if that's sarcasm or not.


It's ironic, really, opening the show with a video package on the history of the 24/7 Championship when the title is still relatively new. But I had a pretty good chuckle at that, so if that was the goal, then well done, Heyman. Very well done indeed. 

The mixed tag team match involving 24/7 Champion R-Truth and Carmella versus the husband and wife duo of 205 Live GM Drake Maverick and Renee Michelle was made more interesting by the fact that we don't normally see Drake wrestle in the ring. What's more is that this was essentially Renee Michelle's in-ring debut. The fact that a host of hungry, hungry wrestlers were outside the ring pointed to the expectation that as soon as this match was over, things were going to get more and more interesting; and it did.

Mike Kanellis, of all people, managed to pin Truth in the confusing aftermath, scurrying away with the title in hand. I loved this! It's no secret that I've always been a fan of the potential of Mike and Maria, mostly because their theme music is super awesome. So to see them get a chance at a title just made me jump up in joy. I also laughed at the vagina-kicking threat by Maria to her husband because I'm a 13-year-old boy. 

It was also an odd mix of excitement and confusion when she—a legitimately pregnant lady—pinned her husband to win the title off him. No, Maria didn't belly flop Mike into unconsciousness to get that pin. She simply did her thing, berating him and guilt-tripping him into doing her bidding. This Maria is a deliciously devilish heel, and I continue to applaud Mike for going through with this, considering most men have a masculinity so fragile, an autumn leaf can break it without a smidgen of effort.

But I digress. Maria gloating about her title victory backstage was a refreshing sight to see. She's right: No one in their right mind would do anything to a pregnant woman, even if it's to win a title. Apparently Braun Strowman, the man who should be jailed for numerous attempted murders, is within that demographic. Just a question, though: Didn't someone win the Hardcore Championship way back when by pinning someone else against a wall? Or am I just that old? I'm 100% looking forward to where Heyman takes this interesting new development, though if Vince absconds with the steering wheel again, I have my theories. See my author's blurb below.


They recapped Dolph Ziggler superkicking HBK during Miz TV before Ziggler came out to HBK's music. What a heel. I'm a huge fan of both Ziggler and HBK, so this was fun for me to watch. Dolph is a huge troll and this actually referenced his 2017 record-scratch gimmick where he came out as a different legend each time. Dolph wasn't laughing, though, when Seth Rollins beat him up everywhere in this match, seemingly in an attempt to avenge HBK. Or was he? Or did he? 

Because this was all apparently a ruse, a trick, a plot! Brock Lesnar's music hit, and no, he wasn't trolling. Brock actually came out and layeth the smacketh down on Seth. This beatdown was very cool and it avoided the easy trap (get it) of multiple F-5s being boring by hitting Seth with them on different objects. That F-5 to Seth on a chair that made him bleed from his mouth was both gross and awesome. Was that internal bleeding? It was meant to be, I'm sure, but the more important question was... Where the hell were you, Street Profits?! You chanted the man's catchphrase and didn't even come out to help. SMH.

Yet that wasn't the end of all the chaos backstage. As Roman Reigns finally came out to check on his former Shield brother, having been sidetracked by washing his hair probably. Then Samoa Joe attacked him and surprisingly The OC was with Joe. Is Joe joining The OC? That's going to be OC-some... Awesome. 

Joe inevitably found his way back to the ring with a microphone in hand and a different kind of chaos erupted in the ring, which spilled over to ringside. Drew McIntyre got involved because he just can't let go of Roman beating him clean twice—and so can't I—before Cedric Alexander came out because he's friends with Roman and he's most likely heading into a feud with Drew. The Usos also joined in on the fun because The OC was there. The babyfaces ending RAW triumphantly was an inspired choice, but to be honest, I would've enjoyed it better if The OC, Samoa Joe, and Drew McIntyre stood tall in the end. Or maybe just The OC and Joe. McIntyre could've been busy murdering Alexander at ringside or something. 

Still, Cedric jumping off the Titantron screen to hurl his body against everyone else was a pretty damn nice sight to see. 

RAW REVIEW: Something about this RAW made every segment feel less out of place or just for time. That something probably goes by the name of Paul Heyman. Likewise, the angles and the drama wrought throughout the show were not only well-executed but also well-paced. This was the best RAW I've seen in a long, long while, and they managed to pull it off without Baron Corbin or Shane McMahon. For that, I'm giving this week's RAW an A for "A...nbelievably good." That's... that's not how you spell "unbelievably," I know, but I just had to go with that on account that this RAW was unbelievably good.

Quick Hitters:

  • Ricochet surviving a No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet match for AJ Styles' United States Championship was expected. What I didn't expect was for the actual match to actually be interesting. Everyone here, excluding Sami Zayn for some reason, was allowed to show their stuff: Cesaro came out uppercuts-a-blazin' against Rey Mysterio in what was possibly the best match of the night. Andrade looked vicious and competent against an understandably fatigued Mysterio. And finally, Ricochet overcame Andrade in a pretty awesome final match. Oh, and like I said, Sami was there but he got rolled up by Mysterio, so, whatever. By the way, did AJ raid Daniel Bryan's wardrobe? That shirt looked suspicious, but mostly because I share the same wardrobe as The Planet's former Champion.
  • The War Raiders continued to destroy two guys. We've seen them do this countless times that it now feels empty, though I'm pretty sure this is just WWE trying to keep the War Raiders in our minds while they have nothing for them. Weird, considering the Street Profits are still doing hype-men things backstage and, well, either The Revival as heels or The Usos as faces can provide a good stepping stone for this vicious viking team. Maybe that's what's going to happen next week, though. Fingers crossed. 
  • A Moment of Bliss featuring Alexa Bliss and best friend Nikki Cross was interwoven masterfully with the RAW Women's title picture here. While it can be argued that Becky Lynch turned heel on contender Natalya via that video Bliss showed, the fact that Becky and Nattie are going to be fighting each other in a Submissions match not only actually makes sense but also let's them play off the gray area outside of roles. Becky and Nattie have a long history with each other, both have submission finishers, and both are known to never give up that easily. At least Nattie was, but something in my head keeps nagging me that she just recently tapped out to someone's finisher quicker than I can say "here, kitty kitty!" I'm betting that someone was Ronda Rousey, though, so that's not a real problem. The real problem was addressed by Nattie in a backstage promo, and I agree that switching from "friendships" to "professionalism" in terms of conflicts makes the women's division a lot more relevant and less... awkward.
  • Back to Bliss/Cross, though, Alexa's still an opportunistic actress, replacing her weird arm thing with an ankle injury in her match against Becky, and I guess Nikki has finally made up her mind about being a heel after losing to Becky. Weird that Bliss/Cross didn't just beat Becky down without having to take the losses. I still can't wait for Cross to turn on Bliss. Will that happen next week? Probably not, but that Nattie line about "friendships" sure makes me wonder...
Images from WWE


*****

Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW for Smark Henry. He has been an avid professional wrestling fan since grade school. These reviews are as close to professional wrestling as he can get. According to him, Kevin Owens is his best friend in the whole wide world. Calling it now: Maria's child pins her to become the new 24/7 Champion after it escapes her evil womb.

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